Almonte-Clayton Loop (54km)
Updated: Jul 5, 2020
Route Author: Jeff Noakes
Location: Almonte, Lanark County, Ontario
Distance: 54 km (33.6 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 35mm, largely due to some of the unmaintained stretches, but it is doable on 32mm tires with some care.
Amenities: The starting point in the quaint town of Almonte has several amenities, including a pub, restaurants, a brewery, coffee shop, a grocery store and several convenience stores. The general store in Clayton (37 km) is a good resupply point if you need one. There are also porta-potties at the Clayton Community Centre (on the right, just after St. George’s Anglican Church) and at the small memorial park across the street from the Clayton general store, near the lake. For those making the ride later in the season, it's worth noting that these may be removed by late October.
Estimated gravel time: 85%
Parking: Parking can be found across the street from the Metcalfe Geoheritage Park. The park itself has toilet facilities.
This route draws on a number of other established rides in the area, especially the Almonte Paris-Roubaix, but has been modified to include extra gravel and unmaintained, while avoiding paved roads as much possible. The roads and topography are good choices for riders wanting a shorter outing, or an introduction to gravel riding along the edge of the Lanark Highlands.
The route leaves Almonte on the well-known Old Perth Road, making a quick detour down to Rae Road in order to fit in some short stretches of Ramsay Concessions 6 and 7. After doubling back on Rae Road, riders turn right onto the first stretch of unmaintained road. Ignore the “Dead End” sign — this section is definitely passable on a bike, and twists through woodlot and some low-lying wet areas before emerging onto Quarry Road.
Quarry Road leads to Ramsay Concession 4, and back to Old Perth Road, which the route follows to Tatlock Road. While this short stretch of pavement has a noticeable amount of motor vehicle traffic, it has a wide paved shoulder and leads riders to the aptly-named Forest Road. Emerging from the woodlot, riders turn left back onto Old Perth Road. This unmaintained stretch runs between an old farm house and log barns before heading into the woods and ultimately emerging on Ramsay Concession 1.
From here, it’s a stretch of rolling gravel road northwest to Upper Perth Road, before crossing Wolf Grove Road, followed by more gravel via Bowland Road. The route then rejoins Tatlock Road and from there, it’s just a bit over 2 km to the village of Clayton, which offers a general store, and in spring, summer, and fall there are also usually porta-potties in the park outside the community centre, as well as Clayton Taylor Park, across the street from the store and next to the lake.
From Clayton, the route heads north-east along the twisty gravel of Bellamy Mills Road, before turning southeast along Ramsay Concession 6d, After crossing Clayton Road, the concession becomes the route's last stretch of unmaintained, before emerging on Old Union Hall Road.
A left turn and a short ride later, the route reaches Ramsay Concession 7b, which veers to the left and turns into Camelon Road. Coming out at the Tannery, the route jogs to the left, up a short steep hill, then turns right to bring riders into Almonte and back to the ride’s starting point.
Photo Credits: Jeff Noakes